Cool Bicycle blog

I’ve been reading this great blog about bicycling, Copenhagenize.com. It’s written by a blogger living in Copenhagen, which seems to be one of the most bicycle-friendly cities around.

I find this blog quite inspiring–it’s about ditching your car and biking instead. It’s also about how cities can create an infrastructure to make this possible. Bike lanes are key!

Boston has consistently been rated one of the least bicycle-friendly cities around, but it’s making changes. It even has a city department working on it! More bike lanes and bicycle racks are being added around the Boston metro area. Some MBTA buses have bike racks on the fronts to help bike-and-bus commuters get to work.

It’s progress, but I still don’t feel terribly safe biking on our narrow, car-lined streets filled with agressive drivers talking on their cell phones. I admire the intrepid souls who bike everywhere, and aspire to join their ranks. I’m encouraged that every summer there seem to be more and more bikes on the roads. If our numbers go up, drivers will have to take notice.

Copenhagenize.com has ample evidence of hearty Danes biking through all sorts of winter weather, so perhaps we Bostonians can make it work, too. I confess I might not be that hearty, though. . .

South Boston Yoga grand opening

Yoga is my favorite form of exercise. It’s a great workout, but the real joy of it is the peace and stillness you feel when you do it. It takes you out of your head and lets you truly be in the moment.

My favorite yoga studio, South Boston Yoga, has opened a fabulous new space and is having a grand-opening celebration this weekend, October 1-3. All classes are free this weekend.

One of the things that is most exciting about the new space is their aerial/swing yoga studio. Similar to the Anti-gravity yoga class I went to in NYC, you do the entire class in a special yoga swing.

Hope you can check it out!

Camping, Biking and tasty poached eggs on polenta

Every August my husband and I celebrate our anniversary with a long camping trip. This year we camped in Vermont at Grand Isle State Park on the Lake Champlain Islands. It was divine!

We brought our bikes and spent our days cycling and swimming in the lake.

There are some excellent maps with suggested bike routes here and here. The island routes were primarily on empty country roads with little traffic and quaint farms and lake views throughout.

Our routes also took us past apple orchards and farms selling eggs and other assorted produce. Most things were sold on the honor system–a sign announced what was available, and a jar or box was available for you to leave your money in.

After an active day of biking and cooling off in the lake, we like to prepare simple, tasty meals to replenish and set us up for another day of biking. But what can you cook when you are camping? Our camp stove is sort of like a little jet engine, and the only thing it really does is boil things at a high temperature. In our early days of camping we did a lot of mix-type things. You know, boil some stuff and dump in some seasoning. Those mixes didn’t make us feel very good, though because they were basically boxes full of chemicals.

We realized that we could make healthier, tastier food with just a little more work than dumping a box of stuff in water. Since we’re only car camping (not backpacking–we’re too old for that!), we can bring heavy canned foods, some fresh produce and most importantly a cutting board. Now when we camp we eat variations on this recipe–a can of tomatoes with some sort of seasoning and some protein. This version has eggs, but it works well with a can of black beans, too. We buy a roll of prepared polenta, use 1/2 of it for one meal, and keep it fresh in our cooler to use the next day.

Camp Cuisine Poached Eggs Diablo on Polenta

Serves 2

1/2 roll of prepared polenta
1 onion, chopped
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped
Olive oil
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
1-2 tsp. cumin powder
Salt to taste
1 can Muir Glen Adobo tomatoes or Ro-Tel tomatoes (something spicy)
4 eggs

Saute onion, garlic and dash of salt in olive oil for about 5 minutes. Add bell pepper and continue sauteing until everything is soft and the onions are starting to brown. Add cumin powder and saute for just a few seconds, then add entire can of tomatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, then turn fire down to simmer for about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
Make 4 indentations in tomato mixture and crack eggs into the pot. Bring back to a boil and poach eggs for about 3-4 minutes (or longer if you don’t like runny yolks).
Cut polenta into at least 4 slices and divide them between 2 bowls. Top each with 2 eggs and 1/2 of the sauce.
Enjoy!

This tasted amazing on our trip, sitting in front of the fire ring under the stars, listening to the crickets and cicadas. If your surroundings are less divine, you might need to up the flavors–maybe some oregano? Maybe some tabasco?

Summer in Boston

This summer has been hot! Often uncomfortably hot. And humid.

Though I’ve been sweating with everyone else, I can’t complain. I feel warm down to my bones, which is something we don’t get a lot of in Boston.

I’ve been celebrating the heat by spending as much time outside as possible. For me, that usually means some sort of activity, mostly walking and biking. I feel like I’m banking some sunshine energy to get through our long, dark winter. For me, this is how I find a healthy balance for living in the cold climate.

One of my recent walks took me past the fountain at the Christian Science plaza. I’m not sure my photo captures the joy of that moment because you can’t hear the happy sounds of children and adults cooling off on a hot day. I spent many summers playing in sprinklers in my suburban back yard, but city kids don’t usually have back yards. I love that Boston has this fountain, and other water parks like it for children to splash around in so they don’t miss out on this special summer treat.

Holiday fun and an antioxidant blueberry facial mask

I gave myself last weekend off–with July 4 on Sunday, I knew my practice would be slow, so I decided to take Friday and Sunday off. I love being active in the city, so I planned to do a different fun thing for each day.

I did a few hours of paperwork in my office in Davis Square on Friday, which was O.K. because I spent the afternoon biking the Minute Man Bike trail from Somerville to Lexington.

It was a beautiful day, and I hung out for a spell in Lexington.

Saturday’s activity was a walk from Central Square, up Main Street and over the Longfellow bridge into Boston.

My destination was Boston harbor.

Sunday morning was yoga with David at South Boston Yoga. It was super sweaty! We sweat more and more easily in the summer because our body’s energy (or “qi”) is up at the surface so it can open and close the pores and keep us cool. Which is what sweating is–your body keeping you cool.

Since I had spent so much time outside, I decided to give myself an soothing blueberry antioxidant mask to repair my skin from all the sun exposure. Here’s my recipe. The quantities are approximate–the goal is to have a smooth and creamy mask with a medium-thick consistency. It should be easily spreadable but not runny.


You should always patch test any home made beauty products before you smear them all over your face.

Antioxidant blueberry facial mask

1/4 cup blueberries
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tsp honey
a few drops of Vitamin E (optional)
1-2 tbsp cosmetic clay of your choice (I used Betonite clay).

Combine first three ingredients in a blender and blend well. Pour blueberry/yogurt mixture into a bowl, and stir in clay a little at a time until desired consistency is reached.

To use: Spread thin layer of mask onto clean skin. Relax for 5-10 minutes. Rinse.

Anti-Gravity Yoga in NYC

I just got back from a short trip to NYC where I took this super-fun yoga class called Anti-Gravity yoga. Om Factory Yoga in midtown has a small room full of about 15 yoga “swings” or “hammocks” that hang from the ceiling and the entire class is taught in the swings.

antigravity-yoga

It was a two hour class, and we spent a lot of time hanging upside down in various positions, including forward folds and backbends. I worked up a sweat eventhough it was not at all like an active, vinyasa class. One woman got a little queasy with all of the upside down time, but I felt great. Nothing was sore after class, and I didn’t feel tired. I felt energized, relaxed and stretched-out.

Though I only took this one class, I really liked the studio, and will definitely try to return on my next visit to NYC.

Tennis Elbow “Incurable”?

I work on a lot of tennis elbow in my acupuncture practice. One problem with resolving tennis elbow with acupuncture is that people have to go out in the world and continue using their arm, even before it’s fully healed. So we often have a two-steps-forward-one-step-back experience. That’s why I’m always looking for more ways to help my patients.

Adding some exercises can speed up the healing process. Take a look at this promising, low-impact, non-surgical treatment for tennis elbow recently posted in the New York Times Well blog. It involves a series of exercises with a flexible rubber bar, like in this video:

Read more at the New York Times.